Chinese herbs and Sore Throat
A Clinical Study for herbal remedy for Sore throat (Acute Pharyngitis)
Study: Hu SY, Ma R, Liu HP. A study for clinical efficacy of “Ertong Qingyan Jiere Koufuyie” in the treatment of acute pharyngitis.
Herbal formulation called Ertong Qingyan Jiere Koufuye was given to treatment group
Acute Pharyngitis: Pharyngitis can result in very large tonsils that cause trouble swallowing and breathing. Pharyngitis can be accompanied by fever or cough
106 acute pharyngitis patients with “Feiwei fever” TCM signs, in hospital/out-patient = 72/34 cases. Treatment group: Ertong Qingyan Jiere Koufuye, 1 to 3 years old: 5 ml tid, 4 to 7 years old: 10 ml tid, 8 to 14 years old: 15 ml tid. Course of treatment: 5 days Control group: Fufang Shuanghua Koufuye. 1 to 3 years old: 5 ml tid, 4 to 7 years old: 10 ml tid, 8 to 14 years old: 15 ml tid. Course of treatment: 5 days. Both groups were forbidden to use antibiotics. If the temperature > 39 C, their fever was abated by physically cooling and given an antipyretic analgesic
- Recovery: all the symptoms relieved within 3 days, the signs and symptoms disappeared
- Marked improvement: the symptoms relieved and the bulk of signs disappeared within 5 days
- General improvement: the symptoms relieved and some of the signs disappeared within 5 days
- Inefficacy: the signs and symptoms had not improved within 5 days
- 45 in 70 cases recovered in treatment group
- 15 in 36 recovered in control group
- 2 persons in 70 had no improvement
- 1 person in the treatment group experienced adverse effects
More About the Treatment
Ertong Qingyan Jiere Koufuye was a specific formulation for new drug development by a Chinese manufacturer who funded this study. The formulation contains herbs used in Traditional Chinese herbal medicine and most can be found on the internet. Formula contained: Chai hu (radix bupleuri), Niu huang (Calculus Bovis), Zi hua di ding (herba violae), Qu mai cai (Herba Sonchi Arvensis), Yu xing cao (Herba Houttuyniae), Lu gen (Rhizoma Phragmitis), Chi xiao dou (Semen Phaseoli).
Cochrane Quality and Risk Rating (if available)
In Chinese Herbs for sore throat, Yang, WU, Zeng and Li (2012) made a number of observations about the quality and risks associated with this type of study and other similar ones conducted in China. Here are some of the observations
- The need to use conventional drug terms to explain TCM terms making it more informative for both physicians and consumers.
- The absence of placebo groups made it difficult to understand the effectiveness of the formula
- The study was funded by a drug company, which used another drug in the control group. Yang et al rated these factors as high-risk bias.
- The variability in formula constituents, impurities and contaminants accepted as a factor that may contribute to heterogeneity of between different study results. The preparation methods and quality of herbs should be stated in the study.
- Chinese names for herbs are not sufficient and internationally recognized names of all plants should be recorded in studies.
I found this clinical study in Yang, WU, Zeng and Li (2012) larger study to analysis the efficacy and safety of herbal treatments for sore throats (including acute/ chronic pharyngitis, laryngitis, and tonsillitis). According to this analysis the efficacy of Chinese herbal treatments for sore throats had not previously been systemically reviewed. I chose this particular study because the tested formulation showed overall good results for treatment of a sore throat (pharyngitis); there was no significant adverse effects (only one person reported in study) and it was a formula that contained Chinese herbs that should be readily available in Australia and America. If you read the full study conducted by Yang et al (2012), it is easy to understand why they rated this study and other studies as very low in quality despite some studies reporting positive results in generally large portions of treatment groups.
Hu SY, Ma R, Liu HP. A study for clinical efficacy of “Ertong Qingyan Jiere Koufuyie” in the treatment of acute pharyngitis. Journal of Chinese Medicine 2004;19(1):31–3.